Geoff Krasnov offers apparel/clothing/garment manufacturing and sourcing news.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fabric closeouts a great way to make your own clothes!

Due to the number of customers and the vast variety of fabrics we work with we almost always have fabrics left over from programs. We sell these fabrics off at cost, which is a bargain for anyone comparing prices at wholesale outlets like JoAnn Fabrics. We currently have 11 colors in a 1x1 baby rib. This fabric is used for infantwear as well as womens tanks and tees. It is made from combed ring spun cotton, so is very soft. We also have a quantity of woven broadcloth with a plaid check print, 2x1 rib in grey heather and wedgewood blue, lightweight jersey in grey heather,charcoal,natural and black, pink baby terry with spandex, black, camel and greay heather heavyweight french terry, black camel and heather heavyweight 1x1 rib, pink and blue polar fleece, and many other odd colors and fabric types. Feel free to inquire with us about discounted wholesale fabrics . Our minimum is typically one roll (40-60 yards), but we will sell small rolls that do not require cutting as well.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Import Apparel - Competing at Retail

There is a very strong sentiment that many startups stress as central to their thinking. They want made in USA apparel, as they believe the domestic consumer values the origin higher and is willing to expend more at retail to get it. The truth of the matter, is this is less true with domestic consumers and more true in overseas markets where "Made in USA" carries panasche. We are pleased to manufacture custom clothing or private labbel apparel domestically, but are always ready to offer import if price points are not workable. Importing apparel has gone from 10% of our business 5 years ago to a projected 45% next year. We handle virtually any sewn product and primarily source on Macau and India. From maternity wear to infantwear to technical garments we have a well established network providing superior quality and price. An advantage we offer is LDP (landed/duty paid) pricing, which means we will handle all logistics and include all duties and fees (portfees, security fees, broker fees, etc) and have the product delivered to your door. The only expenses we do not include are the fee for an import bond and actual freight costs. The advantages are numerous. Besides the obvious advantage of price, the price/value relationship is much stronger. You may fully customize the garment, from stamped logo buttons to printed neck tape to embroidery, applique and hand embellishments. The flexibility to obtain exactly what you are looking for is extreme.

Another advantage of utilizing Style Source for your custom import apparel is that we begin at low minimums. Our starting point for most types of apparel is 1200 per style/600 per color. A few items, like jeans or dress slacks) require 2400 piece minimums. When you consider the price advantage, it is common for the cost of 1200 imported units to be equal to or less than the cost of 700 domestically produced units. This varies though, as duty rates for CVS (chief value synthetic) are 15% higher than CVC (chief value cotton). Bamboo apparel and rayons (modal,tencel, etc) are considered synthetic by US customs. The catagory of apparel also plays a major role, as an item imported as infant sleepers will bear a signifigantly different duty than booties.

Generally speaking, the higher the labor value and the value added content (printing, embroidery, embellishments) the greater the overall savings. This becomes an imperitive when your targeted competition is importing as well.

If you are considering importing custom private label apparel please do give us a call to discuss your specific needs. We can assist you from spec pack development through sampling and sales samples.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Trends in Apparel Printing

The level of interest in our printing services continues to increase as more and more people find the low entry costs, minimal inventory risk and brand building opportunities. The increasing number of printing venues has further accelerated this growth. Let's review the different systems.

Plastisol Screen Printing- This is the most common method of printing, and the one you have likely seen. Screens are burned for each color seperation, resulting in screen charges, and the garments are placed on pallats which then have the screen placed on top and a squeegie presses the plastisol ink onto the garment. This can be done in low volume with hand presses and in large volume with automatics. It is the least expensive form of printing. The image can be felt as a soft slightly rubbery surface, although this can be minimized with proper screen densities and applications. For more complex images that require sensitive color gradients, 4 color process printing can be employed that utilizes CMYK colors to acheive better color blending. Our minimums for this process are 144 pieces per image.

Digital Printing- This method involves no screen making. Art is directly transferred to the cpu of the print machine. A water based ink is used to spray onto the garment and the results are near photographic quality. Most digital printing is done on light shades of garments for several reasons. The first is that color control is more difficult, and the darker the shade the more it affects the color being applied due to bleed through. The second reason is that new systems do allow for putting down a white base first, then applying the image, but the time it takes and the higher ink usage make the economics difficult to justify. Digital printing is about 4 times more expensive than plastisol printing, but the excellent "no feel" hand and the near photographic reproducibility give it some distinct advantages. Our minimums for this process are 72 pieces.

Jumbo Water Based Printing - This system is the one used on the garments you see that have all over printing that crosses seams, is very complex and can't be felt. The brand Affliction uses this technique. This process is also more expensive than plastisol, and very few companies in the USA are using it. Setups require signifigantly higher minimums. Our minimums for this process begin at 1200 pieces per style/graphic design.

Naturally, Style Source Inc will provide private label services for custom made and re-labeling services for branded programs. Bear in mind that your art must be created in Illustrator so that the art is vectored.